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How to fail fast
It is unusual for me to write during the week but I did want to share about my experience these last couple of days because I know how common it is amongst people who are trying to lose weight.
If you read my previous post you know that I had a good old binge fest on Sunday, following a disappointing weigh-in that morning. Which feels so silly now because the scales did show a loss, it was small but, you know, still a loss.
Anyway. The interesting day was Monday, when despite my sincerest intentions to get back on track I felt a lot of resistance. To the point where I wanted to throw away my plan which suddently felt restrictive and suffocating. Once again, I wanted to ditch the calorie counting and feel free…
This was a very familiar scenario.
When it feels like my plan is turning into my master, rather than being my tool, I know I am in trouble. I started looking at other approaches I had tried in the past, like Keto, or Intuitive Dieting, or fasting every other day, only to feel trapped in my current program because surely I’d lose face if I changed it, again.
You know the story of the boy who cried wolf?
He was always bluffing but people believed him and ran to his rescue… until one day they didn’t and that’s when the real wolf came and ate him. I often feel like the ‘girl who cries weight loss’… who announces her big plans with big intentions only to falter over and over until no-one believes she will ever do this, including herself.
All of these are stories that we tell ourselves, based on past experiences, fears and assumptions, rather than what is actually true.
Here is the thing: I know all of this, too. I know that these are just habitual thoughts and well programmed reactions to a familiar situation. Our brains are wired that way and will lead us down the same track, over and over, until we decide to create a new one and start using that.
Yet when I am in a moment of crisis what I know doesn’t matter because in that moment I do not care about any of this. All I care about is getting relief from the emotional turmoil, in this case the unsettling feelings over the scales and my binge.
It is hard to act rationally and go down a different track when you just don’t care. But I did do the one thing I had promised myself I would do in a situation like this:
I grabbed my companion journal and started writing.
At first it was just a brain dump. Then I began jotting down notes about my new plan that would get me back on track. This is another instinctive reaction of mine when in crisis mode: I immediately look for a solution, a way out. Once I admitted though that my plan wasn’t the issue, I was finally ready to start asking the real questions:
What exactly is my resistance trying to protect me from?
How is my past trauma informing this situation?
Why am I feeling unsafe?
I wrote for about 20 minutes when my husband came in and asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I was feeling a little better but not out of the woods yet, I knew that a walk was an excellent idea for getting me out of my head for a bit. It was a great walk and we talked about all of this and that helped a lot.
When we got back I made a few decisions:
I will give my plan another two weeks and if it still feels like my master rather than my tool I will look at other approaches. Somehow I don’t think that this will be necessary but I always like to have options!
I am allowing sugar back in. I loved being sugarfree last year but this year I am just not feeling it. Ultimately I just want to enjoy my food and eat a healthy, balanced diet which includes occasional sweet treats.
I am adding more veggies and protein. I did an analysis of my food and to my surprise I discovered that I am a little low on both. I love veggies and decided to subscribe to the Deliciously Ella app for inspiration, her vegetarian recipes always look amazing!
I am in awe of the impact journaling is having on this journey. I have always known that journaling can be very powerful but did not expect it to be such a game changer. The journalling is, in essence, a new brain track I am creating and that makes me more excited and hopeful than I have felt in a long time.
I am learning over and over again that weight loss is not a linear journey and that ups and downs and diversions are all normal. I think I am finally closer to getting it and to truly understanding that the key to consistency and success lies in dusting ourselves off and continuing on our path. That’s what failing fast, as a friend once called it, is all about.
Enjoy the rest of your week, I’ll be back on Sunday.